Knitting in public


I am one of those women who like to keep their hands busy, so whenever I am going to be sitting idle, I will knit.  I don’t knit fabulous jerseys, and so on, all I knit are scarfs and blocks for blankets.  The knitting is not really about the item I’m making but rather the act of knitting which I find to be calming.   To be honest, I’m not that wonderful a knitter anyway, but you could give me cotton and crochet hook and ask me to crochet a giraffe with an apple on its head and I will probably be able to make you something to fit the bill 🙂

The thing is, people don’t knit in public anymore.  I remember when I was a little girl how women used to haul out their knitting and knit in places of waiting.  Even when women visited with each other, they would bring the knitting or crocheting with and do their hand-work whilst chatting.  If I were to pull out my knitting every time I had to wait, I would most certainly be looked at oddly.

I do, however take my knitting with me to school because there I usually have a 20 minute to a half an hour wait, but I am doing it sitting in my car with my windows open.  I have had one or two people, who obviously knit too, stop and ask what I’m knitting.  The other comments I have had from passers-by, are men giving their size and then of course there are the other bright spark men who claim they are an extra-large, obviously with a twinkle in the eye.  I just smile and laugh with, because I know that boys will be boys no matter their age 😉

I think that it is a pity though, that less people seem to knit and that it is not acceptable to knit in public, and as for the closet knitting men, I say haul out those needles and that wool and show us what you got 🙂


80 thoughts on “Knitting in public

  1. You are right, I love knitting, and I used to do it in public. I still take it to the doctor, as I usually have to wait. All people there find it fascinating seeing me knitting. I used to knit on plane journeys….not allowed anymore…. sharp needles, but I do knit while watchingTV.
    I love it like you, and I am not terribly great but I enjoy it and have made many presents. I also crochet, which love too.

  2. hey, I crochet in public ALL the time. In the car, waiting for appointments, after dinner, at family gatherings, in airports, on planes, waiting to get my hair cut and most importantly while watching sports with my husband because that is the only way I can tolerate sports. people always say.. I packed my knitting in my luggage, I should be knitting,too!

  3. I love to take my knitting out in public as well! I don’t do cardigans and intricate shawls although I would love to but socks are my to-to item although I’ve been knitting the Hitchhiker scarf more these days with my stash of sock yarn 🙂

    I also knit in between client sessions and it is certainly meditative. That, and spinning wool on my spinning wheel 🙂

      • I started with a drop spindle and it’s so much fun! At least I know that should all industrial machines fail to produce cloth for us in some alternative universe, I can spin my own yarn and make fabric 🙂

  4. It is a shame that these skills are being lost but what a great posting about your knitting and crochet work, actually I wouldn’t mind seeing some of these creations in an extra page, now how wicked a treat would that be as a follow up posting? 🙂 🙂

    Keep up the wonderful work and enjoy yourself, I know there are others that find knitting and crochet work a pleasurable experience and that is definitely worth talking about 🙂 Enjoy your day my friend 🙂


  5. I remember as though it was yesterday my Grand Mother who was continually knitting, always a birthday present or Christmas present for one of the family.. how she always managed to knit my jerseys that fitted perfectly, without ever measuring me and that during my growing years, still astounds me.
    The fact that she could knit, hold a conversation and show interest in what was happening around her without ever looking at the knitting, fascinated me..
    My Great Grand Father was known for his crochet work, some of his work has even made it into Museums..
    Me, I’ve never tried it, yet miss those jerseys of old… the bought ones just never feel the same… must be the love with which my Gran knitted those that I miss…

    • Those ladies used to knit so well, Bulldog. My aunt, who was like my gran tp me could knit the most beautiful and perfectly fitting items too, and as you said, they knitted with love. That is so interesting about your grandfather, you should blog about it oneday.

      • I’m hoping on my business trip to the Eastern Cape to take photos of the old family farm, still owned by family, and visit the Museum where it is displayed as well as a shawl given my Aunt (Great Aunt) by the great poet who’s name at this moment eludes me..

  6. I don’t think it’s not acceptable, just rare enough to warrant comment. I knit when I’m visiting people. And they can by all means try and negate it – at least we know that we are quite able Esperanza 😉

  7. too much concentration needed for me and knitting but I used to always have some crochet trailing along with me. Eyesight not so good now. p.s. your challenge – prove you can knit giraffe with apple 😉

  8. Never been a knitter myself. I was forever in trouble at school and one of their favourite punishments was to make you knit hundreds of squares for blankets. My mother became very proficient at knitting squares 😀

    • My mom also knits squares. At the local little wool shop here they have a big basket for the knitters to knit the same size blocks (as per shop pattern) with their left over wool, then the staff take the blocks, mix and match and make blankets for the old age home.
      I’d love to get knitting as a punishment. lol 🙂

  9. That is a true fact indeed Hope. Nowadays you only see most people talking or typing on their cellphones. I love knitting and if I want to knit in public I don’t care what people would think or say and it sure brought you a lot of smiles and comments when you sat in the car knitting. 🙂 I used to knit a lot but with the ganglion I have in my left wrist I can’t do that anymore. My fingers pulls up in spasms. Some days I can’t even type properly. Enjoy your knitting hon and thanks for sharing a beautiful post. 🙂 *big hugs*

  10. You’re right…don’t see very often… But something that I kind of find amusing is that now it is the norm to see women nursing babies…Because I guess I’m from the older generation we used to consider that a very intimate and private bonding time for mother and child…I know they say it’s a natural thing and all that but I still think it’s a more private thing..Diane

  11. Bring public knitting back! I learned to knit when I was a little girl. I picked it up a few years ago and a friend showed me how to make a hat on circular needles. My menu consists of hats and scarves–that’s it. I agree that there is a meditative quality to knitting. An anthropology teacher that I had in college told me that women’s crafts like that were referred to as “wisdom work” in indigenous circles. So, I say enjoy your wisdom work and I stand in solidarity with you to bring knitting back into public places–let’s carry it everywhere! Amen. 😉

    • Oh I agree and I love the “wisdom work” expression, I am going to refer to my knitting and crocheting as that from now on. Thank you so much for the visit and comment, Stephanie 🙂

  12. I used to knit a few years ago when I was 13/14, I managed to make a few really nice scarves. After reading this post though I’m inspired to get back into knitting. On my way to work the other day I saw a woman knitting on the bus, it really is something you don’t see a lot of people doing in public these days, but it’s good nevertheless. x

    • Knitting is so good and I’m happy to hear that there are still some people who will knit in public. I am so glad to have inspired you to knit again, yas…enjoy it 🙂

  13. According to they now have 3 million members and Ravelry being a knitting, crochet, and spinning platform as well as fiber prep and even weaving, I think these gentle arts are coming back. Did you know that there’s a Knit in Public day coming up in June?

  14. My mom use to knit like crazy….but never in public..don’t ask me how that works, guess she prefers her soapies, making good food and reading.

  15. I never thought of it like that – knitting and in public – and of course you are perfectly right. That used to be what ladies did. My friend knits in a “club” much like a quilting bee. She says the busy hands stimulate interesting conversation. I think I will take up crocheting once again Thanks……. *hugs*

  16. Actually, you’re right. People used to knit all over the place, and in a tearoom would be the clicketty-click of needles.
    I don’t think it isn’t done because it ‘isn’t done’, so much as that most people have lost the skill!

    • You may have a point there with the skill, Col. We were taught needlework at school in those days, but now there is no such thing. I have tried to teach my girls to knit, but they have not really ever been interested, except for my little one, oddly.

  17. As a lefthander..l found knitting hard to learn..and teachers were not helpful and yelled and insulted my loopy looking projects. I did not enjoy needle crafts at all …and envied my Gran and aunts who just sat there with fingers flying and needles clicking. However…about 5yrs ago l saw some wool in my favourite colour ..turquoise…and decided l would make a scarf. I managed to get 5 pairs of needles from a charity shop and from the distant past…l remembered how to cast stitches on …the only stiches l could remember were stocking stitch, basket stitch, and ribbing…..but l managed to create a mixture of these, and produced a big chunky scarf. I was so proud of myself…and wore it to the pub that night. A lady that l did not know, came up and asked me where l had purchased my scarf ….and when l told her l had made it…she begged me to make her one and said she would pay me for time and materials. You have no idea how amazed l felt…ME who had been made to look stupid, had my legs slapped with a ruler and told l was a kakhanded failure. !!! The same lady ordered 10 more scarves from me and gave them as Xmas presents to her friends…and she paid me twice what l asked. My husband was quite amazed to see me knitting…and said it bought back such good memories of his mother whose needles were always clicking. I am teaching an 11yr old girl to knit…because she asked me to..and was so fascinated..and had NEVER seen anything “so cool” …indeed, never having seen anyone knitting before. Such a shame ….SO PLEASE KNIT IN PUBLIC!!
    They can’t arrest you for it…yet!

    • I lobe this, Jo! You know, when I was in std 1, my needlework teacher told me I knit like an “ousie.” I couldn’t understand why, but apparently it was because of the awkward way I held, and still do, hold the needles, but it works for me. So in a sense I can relate to your experience at school. I am not a lefty but my brother is, and he had problems with not being able to write neatly – the teachers were so horrible in those days and they gave him endless hell about it.
      I would love to see a pic of your scarf, maybe you can post a pic on fb?

  18. Based on 57 prior thoughts I think knitting is alive and well. You have happy and a calmness that some of us do not have !

  19. Knitting is definitely gaining in popularity again…..
    The “latest” things for young ladies before going out for the night, is to sit and knit before the time….. No lies! I saw a bunch of 21-24 year old girls merrily knitting while waiting for the “jols” to open up!

  20. It is more common to see people with their phones in their hands playing games or texting friends than sitting and doing something constructive while they wait. I had a co-worker who would knit on break and taught me a little. I have wanted to actually try to knit a scarf or something, but just have never had the time to learn. I think knitting in public would be more acceptable than breastfeeding in public. I know I always got a wide range of looks when I breastfed my children. So my parting advice to you, let them look. If they don’t like what you are doing tough luck to them. They don’t have to like it and it’s not like your doing anything illegal. So knit to your hearts content anywhere you wish, except not on a plane.

  21. I could never keep the tensions correct when I crocheted.
    I tried a little bit of knitting but it just didn’t work for me. I do so many other things that I really don’t have time for it anymore, but, at least, I know how it feels to hold the material and needle and make the movements.

Namaste. My soul honors your soul. I honor the place in you where the entire universe resides. I honor the light, love, truth, beauty & peace within you, because it is also within me. In sharing these things we are united, we are the same, we are one.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s